Former New Jersey Net Michael O’Koren Inspires Charger Athletes

At the annual Tip-Off Dinner (pictured left to right), women’s basketball coach Bill Diener, Trustee Michael McLaughlin, former NBA player Michael O’Koren, and men’s basketball coach Joe Clinton.

The 2019-2020 women’s and men’s basketball team got advice on how to be successful on and off the court from former New Jersey Net standout Mike O’Koren at the annual Tip-Off Dinner on October 24, 2019.

O’Koren said that during his career he learned that fundamentals, confidence, and camaraderie are all key to performing well on the basketball court.  At the University of North Carolina, Koren was an All-American athlete and played under legendary head coach Dean Smith.  He was a first round selection of the New Jersey Nets in 1980 and played with the club for ten years.  O’Koren then moved on to coaching as an assistant coach with the Nets, the Washington Wizards, and Rutgers University.

College trustee and former Charger basketball player Michael McLaughlin, ’90, told the athletes in attendance, “As great of a player as he is, off the court he is an even better person.”

O’Koren’s advice to the athletes went beyond tips for a successful athletic career.  He told them to be successful in life they needed discipline and should strive to make their parents proud. “You know the difference between right and wrong,” he said. “Follow that right path and make them proud and good things will certainly happen for you.”

The Tip-Off Dinner was held at the Casa Mia House in Blauvelt, NY.